Before, you wasted time chasing the 80% of prospects that delivered less than 20% of your revenues. Now, you can focus 80% of your efforts on the opportunities that move the needle. Magnetically attract the right customers who understand your value, are willing to pay a premium, and pre-qualify themselves before ever engaging with sales.
Mark Osborne's new book, "Are Your Leads Killing Your Business?" create the roadmap to leverage technology and data to attract the right prospects and keep customers locked in.
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Hello, welcome to this episode of The Unnoticed Entrepreneur. With me here, Jim James, in Wiltshire, I'm going to take you all the way to LA to meet Mark Osborne, who's sitting there in beautiful Los Angeles. I'm going to talk about modern revenue strategies and we're going to talk about whether or not you should be looking at AI and chasing new things, some conventional patterns that we need to follow to make sure our businesses are a success. So Mark's also got a new book and he's going to, at the end, give us a freebie. So stay tuned till the end of the show. Mark, welcome to The Unnoticed Entrepreneur show.
Thanks so much, Jim. It's a real pleasure to be here.
Well, it's a pleasure to have you on the mic and well, and speak of mics for those people that can't see, mark has got one of the most beautiful so 1950s style, sure microphones, so he's making me feel kind of a little like. I mic envy here, but that's kind of a special sort of podcast, this thing, mic envy, isn't it? You got a nicer mic. You got a nicer mic than me, but, mark, notwithstanding that, you've also got a fantastic book which is better than the one I've written, no doubt. And tell us about the book. And tell us about modern revenue strategies and your theory on how entrepreneurs can build their businesses and not let their sales leads destroy them.
Absolutely, jim. Yeah, I've spent the last 20 years working with B2B SaaS technology, b2b services companies, people that are sort of struggling with long sales cycles, complex buying committees. They've got a decision maker, influencer, a champion for large contracts. So that's really the space that I know the most about and that's what the book is written about, and one of the things that I've seen in that space is that there's a real obsession with getting more leads, more opportunities, more marketing, qualified leads, but sometimes that leads to some really bad outcomes and, in fact, businesses that are sort of chasing the wrong type of leads or that are focusing their business on sort of serving the wrong type of customer can actually get pulled behind their competition and be pulled back. Instead of experiencing success, they experience a lot of failure. In fact, it can create sort of a doom loop and a cycle that kills the business because these sort of bad leads are really sort of detracting them from their core mission, having them build customized solutions that isn't what the market is looking for and then ultimately not renewing, not upselling or increasing the engagement, not serving as a referral in the marketplace and really sort of killing the business. And I saw that get even worse as a function of something that happened around the pandemic, in that there were a lot of trends taking place and McKinsey says that some of these trends accelerated by 10 years in less than 10 months where a lot of B2B companies really sort of treated the lockdowns as a pause button and they sort of you know, whatever they had been doing, they kind of put it on pause. Maybe they did a few extra webinars, but they didn't really invest in sort of understanding how things are continuing to progress and what the trends are that are taking place. And then, when people started returning back to office and going back to conferences, they went back to the same strategy of throwing up a white paper asking people to give them their email address in exchange for the download, treating all those emails like a qualified lead and moving forward from there, and that just doesn't work today. And so what we did with the book was really try to put together a framework that we've seen be really successful at leveraging the best in technology and data to make sense of that technology and to really attract the right prospects, accelerate those opportunities through the sales, the pipeline, and then activate those existing clients for renewals, upsells and referrals and by building a systemic approach to that. That's what we've really seen be the most successful for companies as they're coming into this sort of time of really economic uncertainty that we're in right now.
Mark, I think you've raised a couple of things there and you know your background is over 20 years and you in B2B marketing or so, you are named by ad age as one of the trailblazers in MaTeX. You know we've had on the show Scott Brinker, who is you know, who puts together the landscape, and he even two years ago had over 2000,. You know MaTeX apps. It's worse than a wilderness, right, and AI is making it even more dangerous for anybody. You talk about a systemic approach or you know a systems based approach. How does an entrepreneur know which systems to use? Because it's kind of bewildering. Every day we're seeing there's this new one, there's this new one. This one solves that problem. Mark, where do we start?
Yeah, yeah, you know what's funny the Martek conference and Scott Brinker is someone that I've admired and respected for a long time and attended those conferences and I actually really prided myself early in my career on my ability to game algorithms and I actually, you know, at one point worked for a company that was using artificial intelligence and machine learning to make sense of the fire hose of data coming out of Twitter and Facebook and Instagram to predict people that were likely to respond to different ads and, you know, it really is as granular as you can get, leading to, you know, some of those sort of recognition for that. But as I worked with more and more successful companies and the B2B space, what I saw was that those that were really achieving the type of growth that we all want the sort of doubling every year sort of expectation they weren't trying to game an algorithm, they weren't trying to find a growth hack. Instead, they were really focused on systems that scale and repeat and really ensure that they're sort of doing their best work every day and that they can teach to other people so that they, as they grow, they can have more people bring in on it. The other thing that I've seen is that systems create a much more harmonious work environment, because marketing and sales and customer success can come together as a revenue team and build systems, and then, if we don't achieve our goals, we can look at well, what broke down in the system, instead of wagging our finger at one person and saying, well, you failed, you didn't bring in enough leads, or you didn't close enough of the leads that we brought, or you didn't renew enough of those customers. So creating a systems approach creates a lot more harmony, a lot more confidence in how things are going to move forward and that you'll hit your projections, because where the system starts to break down or where the leading indicators aren't showing that you're going to achieve what it is you need to achieve, you could focus on improving that, and so that's something that we've seen to be really powerful for businesses.
So, Mark, that's interesting. So the implication of that is that marketing isn't about creativity, it's about process and, as you say, a lot of companies are getting a lot of leads that are not actually of any value. I have some clients that have employed social media companies to help them and they said they're getting more and more inquiries but less and less business. That's right. Because actually it's the people who've got time on their hands who do the inquiry, right? You don't see Bill Gates on LinkedIn, that's right. So if we have to think about systems and processes, mark tell us are your leads killing your business in your book? Do you want to just explain to us how you help an entrepreneur to map out this system? Because most of entrepreneurs are good at a product or a service. Most of us are not systems-oriented people.
Well. So you said something earlier that I do want to touch on, which is that it's not about creativity, it's about process. I actually find that process enables creativity, because once you start to sort of set ground rules of here's what we need to accomplish, you can bring together disparate teams and really have creative collaboration on how do we move this leading indicator of success, and that creates a framework where you can be much more creative and much more collaborative, and so I think that's worth pointing out. But the thing that I sort of see be successful for companies around this is, first off, it's around prioritizing. Where do you focus? And we've worked with companies for more than 20 years, and so we have some sort of tried and true benchmarks of are your attraction systems working? Are you bringing in enough of the right qualified prospects? Are your acceleration systems working? Are you moving those opportunities through the pipeline fast enough and with enough success? Are your activation systems working? Are you getting enough renewals, upsells and referrals to really dominate your marketplace? And just starting there creates a lot of focus within a business to say you know, you're, where do I even begin to sort of grow my revenues, and once they start to you know, then pick an area or two to focus on, then we can start to deconstruct even further. Well, what are all of those systems that lead to this outcome that you care about? And then, rather than relying on a marketing genius or someone to have a burst of creativity, that's going to sort of lead to this. You know, really amazing insight having a system that sort of deconstructs how to understand the customer, how to understand the journey that that customer goes through, the informational needs they have at each stage of that journey, how to score the content that you're creating that's influencing each stage of that journey, rather than just, well, we're going to come up with the ad that's going to change everything. For us, having instead a system that deconstructs, that is a much more reliable path to success.
Mark, you're obviously, with your experience, you know, talking on a higher plane than most of us, and thanks for picking me up on this idea that you know creativity and process are mutually exclusive. I think you're absolutely right that if you create a framework for creativity to operate within, then it can possibly create even greater results. But can you break that down for us in terms of when you say systems and so on, for most people you know, then it may be HubSpot, which then, for example, becomes A. It's expensive and overwhelming. I mean, with all due respect to Scott Brinkriew, actually, you know, works at HubSpot. A lot of these tools quite quickly have got functionality that's well beyond what most people can understand. They don't operate unless they're full-time managers. Can you give us some examples of how someone might create just the simplest of systems as a flow that they could use? Can you give us an example that someone could create that's not expensive, that just gets them started?
That's right. Well, and you also, you mentioned, you know, sort of these technologies and many times we see companies sort of look to a technology as a silver bullet Once we implement HubSpot, for example, it's going to solve all of our problems, and that's not really true. And what I see with companies is it's the ones that start with the problem. And there's the old adage, you know, marketing starts with the market. So you start by thinking about your customer and then you know what is that critical customer flow? And in fact, david Jennings out of Australia has a great book, systemology, and in that book he describes this sort of idea of a critical customer flow. And that's one of the places we start with our clients in sort of creating these simple systems. Which is just what does the process look like, from creating awareness to generating demand. Hopefully you're doing both of those things at the same time Creating awareness, generating demand, capturing that interest and sort of capturing a way to create a dialogue, moving them through their informational needs as they evaluate. You know, am I in market for this? Like just describing all of these things on a simple spreadsheet can be a really powerful way to go and one of the things you know, 65% of people are primarily visual. They interpret the world through the way it looks and one of the things that we have found to be really powerful is just visually mapping what that critical customer flow looks like and you want to think of it. You know all the way from. You know capturing that first lead to that renewal, that upsell, that referral, those things that they're doing on the other side of the bow tie, so that you're thinking about what's happening at each stage. How do we influence that? How do we capture data that we have made the positive influence we're looking for, and just having visual representations brings together your team in a much more collaborative, much more creative way to solve those problems and is a great place to start is just whiteboarding it out and then putting it into a spreadsheet or, you know, a bulleted list of the order that it goes. That's a great start.
Yeah, ok. So I was going to say you can then either be making a mood board where you may be trading out of a magazine or taking some of Instagram of your customer, whether at home your customer, how they travel on the bus, the subway, walk, cycle right At your store or whether they, if they're in their office, so you can make it accessible. That's one of the problems with some of these technologies that you spend as long trying to figure out the technology as you do serving the client. Right. That becomes ultimate. Mark Osborne, you've got this new book. Are your Leads Killing your Business In that book? Are these tools available then? Is that what's available in the book?
That's right. Yeah, so the book really describes what we call sort of our five-step B2B growth process, and we typically see that our clients that work with us we do what we call our 10X B2B growth guarantee, because we see that people that work with us get a 10X ROI on their investment with us in their business in short order, partly because we focus on where is the closest opportunity for growth. And so the sort of five stages that we talk about are bringing your team together to align on what are the goals that you're trying to do, build some structures and systems for reporting and sort of tracking success. And then it's about attracting the right customers, and we have a number of tools within the book for how to build your ideal customer profile for tier one, tier two, tier three, how to use that to guide through, thinking about the context that's sending your customer to market, which is often something that's missed in pharmacographic descriptions of a customer, but instead what's the context that drives them to market. Even thinking again, using templates to describe your sort of the personas of your decision makers, your influencers, your champions within that sort of buying committee that exists. How to use tools to link marketing to sales and to sort of when we call it an account intelligence profile, so that you can really decide collaboratively. Is this truly a qualified lead, that we know about them that makes us think that they're making a decision now, they're not just researching to stay up on the industry and so really sort of understanding? All of those different things and all of those toolkits are available with the book and in fact we also give purchasers of the book several hours of free videos that they can use to sort of explore some of these topics further. I walk through the processes that we use in creating a really powerful differentiated positioning strategy that sort of creates demand while generating awareness. Walk through how we build some of the systems to create alignment and collaboration between marketing, sales and customer success so that you have more confidence going through. And then also the systems that we use for unpacking the sort of customer journey and mapping your content to each stage of that customer journey and those informational needs. That can really be a lot more powerful than just buying more ads.
Mark, that sounds like a huge amount of value and, mindful of the time here, we're going to put a link, I think, in the show notes, to a free download. I think you're currently offering for the book, so that's wonderful.
The first 50 folks that go to that link will be able to get that download, and then with that download will come the full toolkit.
Okay, great, so we'll put that in, and Rush is the answer there. Mark, you're also an entrepreneur, and so what have you been doing to get yourself noticed? Because in itself, that's a job, isn't it Sure?
So you know, I like to hear myself talk. I've got this lovely microphone I might as well put it to use. And so I have found, you know, having really good conversations like this one has been a great way to sort of take the story to the marketplace. And someone early on told me that you know, if you always come from a place of generosity of you know, give away as much as you can, add as much value as early as possible, rather than you know well, you got to pay me to know the secrets. That approach has typically been a much more successful approach, is sort of lead with that generosity and, frankly, like I'm really lucky that my job is also my hobby and that I love talking about marketing and how to grow businesses and I spend many hours every week talking with people who are not really a qualified prospect for me but have an interesting business problem and I can't help myself, we get into a long conversation. I give them some good ideas to go, try and point them in some other directions and off they go.
Mark, I think you know I like it so much I started the podcast, yeah that's right. Mark, if there's something that you found doesn't work because you know, I always ask my guests if there's one thing that they would tell people to steer clear of, what would that be?
You know it's sort of a truism but also a trap that's hard to stay out of, which is, you know, you really have to focus on a niche. Like going too broad is really the challenge, because when you're trying to be the right fit for everyone, then you wind up being the right fit for no one, or at least they can't see themselves in your business and how you would work together, because it just doesn't feel tangible and it doesn't feel real. So that thing that doesn't work is trying to go to the market broadly and to say, hey, I can help you. Whatever your problem is, I can help you. And even if you can and even if you do have broad experience, it just doesn't resonate with the marketplace and it doesn't sort of set you up for success working with those customers.
Mark, but it sounds like being set up with you does give successes. There's one thing on the flip side that you'd give as a piece of advice to fellow entrepreneurs. I mean, you've touched on the finishing, but have you got something overarching as well that you would recommend people or you found really does move the needle in terms of getting noticed?
Well, for starters, using systems. Something that's really sort of core to our belief is, you know, build a system for everything that you're doing along the way. But that only is so good, as you know, once you're working on something. And so the question on, well, what to work on, I think the flip side is, instead of going too broad, it's really, you know, focusing in on a particular, you know, marketplace that you can serve better than anyone else. But that goes beyond just sort of your marketing and messaging strategy. It goes into how you build the processes and systems that help you deliver. Because if you're trying to solve every problem, even every problem for a particular niche, then you're always going to be sort of creating a new wheel every time that problem comes up, rather than refining processes that help you get faster and more efficient and to serve better on a certain type of problem. You can't be the best in the world at everything, but if you focus on solving specific types of problems and doing it in specific ways, then you can start to become the best in the world at solving that problem for that market in that way, and that's how you can really start to differentiate yourself and really have a much more powerful presence in the marketplace.
Mark Osborne, you got a powerful presence in my marketplace today, not least because of the mic, but because of the insights you show. If you want to find out more about you and also to get this amazing book, where do we go?
Yeah, absolutely Honestly. Send me an email at mark@ modernrevenuestrategies. com or go to the website modernrevenuestrategies. com. Again, that free download is available for the first 50 folks to go there. We've also been doing sort of this kind of free diagnostic. Again, a lot of companies struggle with well, where do we focus on growing our revenues? Is it on getting more leads, or are those leads killing our business? Is it accelerating the leads we have through the sales cycle or is it getting more renewals, upsells, referrals and testimonials from our existing client base? We do a really quick 30-minute diagnostic which will bring in some of the sort of benchmarks and best practices we've seen from working with companies over the last 20 years and that can immediately provide some direction on what's the fastest path to growth. And if you need help on sort of crafting that path further, we can help there too.
Mark Osborne, thank you so much for joining me and sharing your book. Are your Leads Killing your Business? And I noticed we didn't talk once about AI, which is amazing. There's a whole another topic there, but it's interesting the message that you've given about building systems and not chasing the latest AI tool. So, mark, thank you so much for joining us today. Thanks so much, Jim I really enjoyed it Well, me too, and Mark Osborne. His details have been in the show notes, but he's also shared those and 50 downloads. So don't delay and thank you for joining Mark and I today on the Unnoticed Entrepreneur Show. I hope you've enjoyed it and take that out as much as I have. And also a fundamentally reassuring message, because building systems doesn't mean chasing the latest AI tool. It's about doubling down, going back to the customers that you've got and seeing what works when you serve them properly, and building systems around those people, not finding new tools that might excite you and be kind of cool to talk about in the pub or the bar or the sports club. So if you've enjoyed this, please do review it and do please share it with an Unnoticed Entrepreneur and follow the show, because I don't want you to miss any of our amazing guests that are lined up all the way through to Christmas and beyond. So until we meet again, I just encourage you to keep on communicating. Thanks for joining me, Jim James, and on the Unnoticed Entrepreneur.